President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had said the proposed new Constitution would safeguard the country’s unitary status and the pre-eminent place afforded to Buddhism. Therefore, the country can rely and place confidence on the assurances given by them, Malwatte Mahanayake Most Ven.Tibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera said.

“When the two leaders ruling the country have given such an assurance there is no point in questioning about its validity,” the Malwatte Prelate said.

The Malwatte Chief Prelate expressed these sentiments when Parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardene called on him at his temple in Kandy and presented a document containing observations and comments of the Joint Opposition (JO) group about the interim report of the Steering Committee on constitutional reforms yesterday. Gunawardene said a copy of the document had been submitted to the Steering Committee too.

The Malwatte Mahanayake Thera who reminded Dinesh Gunawardena that he (Gunawardene) and several other Joint Opposition members had participated in various steering committees on Constitutional Reforms added that they had the discretion to oppose if any harmful decisions were taken at that stage.

The Malwatte Mahanayake Thera said it was better to submit ideas and news for the formulation of a good Constitution beneficial to the country without taking a firm stand saying a Constitution was not needed. He said he would always raise objections if any decisions inimical to the country nation and religion were taken. The prelate who noted that there was a group who stood up to oppose anything and everything said a similar situation happened during the signing of the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact which took the country towards a setback.

The Chief Prelate who commended the introduction of the First Past the Post system in place of the present system of elections added that the activities of Provincial Councils had degenerated to such a low level that no one knew whether they were functioning or not.

MP Dinesh Gunawardene said the interim report included clauses which threatened the Unitary Status of the country and the protection of Buddhism. He also said that the Sinhala copy and the English copy of the interim report differed as regards the historical status of the country.

The Mahanayake Thera said whom to believe is the question baffling him today. He had to ask the question as to who uttered more lies. 

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